Creative blacksmithing: ideas, design and techniques with Cara Wassenberg

Ref: SLW31632

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About this course

You will be introduced to different blacksmithing techniques and use both hand tools and the power hammer to form hot steel. You will develop your own project ideas and should expect to produce a finished piece.

Course Description

You will be introduced to some fundamental blacksmithing processes and approaches to design. You will utilise different blacksmithing techniques and use both hand tools and the power hammer to form hot steel. You will look at the origins of design ideas and stages in the design process. You will develop your own project ideas and can either work on a series of experimental discoveries or work towards a small finished piece. Working in the forge, you will be shown how to draw down, upset, bend, twist, hot cut, punch and weld hot metal by using both hand tools and the power hammer, as you create a finished metal design. Discussion of the characteristic forms and qualities achievable in steel through the use of these techniques will help inform your design, and you will look at the work of other blacksmiths and the origins of design ideas and the stages in the design process.

All abilities, including complete beginners, are welcome. The course does require some physical exertion and a moderate level of fitness is required, i.e. to be able to hammer or do up a vice with ease. Most importantly, however, will be a commitment to your project, and curiosity about technique and process. The focus of the course is not just about mastering blacksmithing techniques, but also about how to respond in a creative way to both a design challenge and the material properties of steel, its potential and limitations.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • Protective clothing supplied includes leather aprons, work gloves, safety spectacles and ear defenders. You may wish to bring your own, if you have them. If, for example, you have particularly large or small hands, your own work gloves are likely to be a better fit.
  • Metal and fuel – please note that this covers basic materials and if students use large amounts of metal, they will be charged.

What students need to bring

  • Sketchbook, pens
  • Images of ideas that might inspire your design, e.g. the design work of others you admire, natural forms that inspire you, a potential location for your piece of work.
  • You will need protective clothing suitable for workshop use, together with steel toe capped boots. For your safety, it is mandatory to wear steel toe capped safety boots when undertaking a course in the Forge. You must provide your own safety footwear and bring it with you to wear on the course. If you fail to bring suitable footwear, you will not be able to take part in the course. Safety boots can be purchased from most tool hire shops and builders merchants, as well as online.
  • Please note that cotton or wool clothing is preferable to nylon or other synthetics. A pair of cotton jeans is far more protective than a pair of nylon trousers.
  • Gloves are provided, but if you have particularly large or small hands, your own work gloves are likely to be a better fit.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Sketchbooks, pens

Additional information

Please note: This course is held in the Forge which is 10 minutes walk from the main house through the walled garden, or can be accessed by car. You will have morning coffee and afternoon tea at the nearby Carrington Studio and return to the main house for lunch. Tutor supervision is required at all times when students work in the Forge. The tutor’s instruction on health and safety will include access to and use of the power hammer.


Cara Wassenberg

Cara Wassenberg is a sculptor with 25 years' experience of working in steel, copper and glass. She trained at University of the Creative Arts, Farnham and teaches part-time on the BA Metalwork course at UCA. She makes sculpture for galleries, exhibitions and to commission.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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